- Associated Press - Saturday, October 19, 2013

ST. LOUIS —  Clayton Kershaw was long gone. Michael Wacha kept Dodgers hitters down, ignoring the surprisingly big lead and pitching as if the opposing ace was still dealing.

The rookie left no doubt in a 9-0 rout Friday night that put the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series for the second time in three years and kicked Los Angeles’ high-dollar roster to the curb.

“Yeah, anytime you’re going to face Clayton Kershaw, you’re probably going to have to match zeros against him,” Wacha said after getting the best of Kershaw for the second time in the series. “You know, our guys just battled out there today.

“It was so much fun to watch in the dugout.”

Matt Carpenter’s double capped an 11-pitch at-bat that got a sellout crowd for Game 6 into the spirit of things and triggered a four-run third, and the St. Louis offense didn’t let up. He’d been just hoping to put the ball in play after striking out in the first.

“I don’t remember how many it was, but I just kept fouling them off,” Carpenter said. “He finally made a mistake with the slider out over the plate.

“From then on, really, you’ve got to give all the credit to our offense.”

Carlos Beltran’s RBI single put the Cardinals ahead, his latest postseason contribution. The Cardinals batted around in the third, then added five more runs in the fifth.

Kershaw is the majors’ ERA champion three years running and is the front-runner for NL Cy Young. He pitched the division series clincher against Atlanta but never recovered from the epic Carpenter at-bat.

To get out of the third he needed 48 pitches — most in his career.

“I don’t think you really think about it during the inning,” Kershaw said. “You’re just trying to get outs. I just didn’t enough of them, fast enough.”

Wacha was named MVP of the series. He threw seven innings of two-hit ball in the clincher and totaled 13 2-3 scoreless innings.

The Cardinals rebounded from a Game 5 loss and early on removed tension from last fall when they squandered a 3-1 NLCS lead and faded badly against the Giants.

They won their 19th NL pennant and will try for their third World Series title since 2006. The opener is Wednesday at the winner of the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.

“It just adds to the legacy of this franchise,” chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said during the champagne celebration in the clubhouse. “It’s a thrill to be involved with it, and to see these guys perform the way they did.”

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